AI and Chat GPT in Fundraising – its role, uses and implications

22 May 2023 | By Lucy Pratt

With technology continuing to embed itself in all aspects of our lives at great speed, much has been written about AI technology and how this might facilitate the biggest shift in our working practices since the industrial revolution.

This week, OpenAI chief executive (and the inventor of Chat GPT) Sam Altman lauded the new generation of digital chatbots for their potential to “improve nearly every aspect of our lives”. 

However, his positivity also came with words of warning:

 “if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong. We want to work with the government to prevent that from happening.”

With every great revolution comes trepidation, but looking at such technology through the eyes of a fundraiser, we need to ask whether this is the future of fundraising, or merely a tool to support us in our journey to create positive change? In a series of articles, we aim to open up discussion and debate on this topic.

Will Chat GPT replace fundraisers?

There is little doubt that Chat GPT can be a valuable tool in various aspects of fundraising. It can assist in automating certain tasks, such as generating personalised messages, answering frequently asked questions, and providing information about donation opportunities. AI-powered chatbots can handle a large volume of inquiries and provide timely responses, enhancing the efficiency of fundraising campaigns.

Additionally, Chat GPT can help charities analyse data and gain insights to improve their fundraising strategies. By processing and interpreting large amounts of information, AI can identify trends, patterns, and potential donor preferences, enabling organisations to tailor their approaches and maximize their impact.

However, it's important to note that fundraising is a complex process that involves building relationships, establishing trust, and engaging with donors on a personal level. While AI can support these efforts by handling routine tasks, it is unlikely to replace the human element entirely. Human interaction, empathy, and connection remain crucial in the fundraising process, especially when dealing with individual donors who value personal relationships and emotional connections.

Ultimately, Chat GPT and other AI tools are best seen as complementary to human efforts in fundraising. They can enhance efficiency, provide insights, and support organisations in reaching their goals. However, the future of fundraising will likely rely on a combination of AI technologies and human ingenuity, empathy, and relationship-building skills.

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